5 Meal Prep Tips You’ve Never Heard Before

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Do you love the idea of meal prepping, but get easily overwhelmed? Just the thought of planning feels like a lot, and that’s before you’ve even stepped foot in the kitchen! I’m sharing how to save time and money in the kitchen with meal prep with five tips you’ve probably never heard before. 

It’s no secret that meals made at home are going to be your best option when prioritizing your health. So why does it always seem so daunting?   

If you’ve visited my Instagram lately, you’ll know that I’m no stranger to meal prep (ahem, for other people). Each week I share a behind-the-scenes glance at private chef meal prep sessions to show you the kinds of recipes that are best for meal prepping. 

After countless hours spent in the kitchen, both for my own personal meal prep over the years and more recently, the private chef services I offer, I’ve picked up on some key tips for saving time and money in the kitchen. 

5 Meal Prep Tips from a Culinary Pro
(that you’ve never heard before) 

Create a meal prep binder.

Organization is key for successful meal prep. For every meal prep session, I recommend collecting a few recipes from cookbooks or blogs and printing them out, creating a shopping list, and writing down a prep plan before prep day. I’m a huge fan of doing it once and using it multiple times, which is why creating a master meal prep binder has been a game change for me and can be for you, too. 

Curious to see how I do it? Check out this Instagram post where I go through detailed directions of how to create your own master meal prep binder from the supplies needed to how to organize your dividers

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Identify your personal formula.

What kind of meals do you like to eat? How are your favorite recipes prepared – stove, oven, assembly? These questions play into identifying your personal meal prep formula. For example, my personal formula (for one person) is this: a soup, mason jar salads, main dish and extra (muffins, energy bites, overnight oats, etc). For my private chef clients who need more meals, I usually add in another main dish and extra. 

Your personal formula ensures multitasking efficiency during prep, as well as a variety of meals for the week. With my personal formula above, I know that I can get the soup cooking, then work on the main and extra, then assemble the salads while everything is cooking. That way, I’m not wasting time by waiting for a meal to finish cooking before starting my next recipe. 

Related post: 5 Step Plan to Master Modern Meal Prep

Pick a culinary theme for the week.

Tired of having to get a million ingredients at the store (which can be overwhelming and expensive)? Pick a theme and add variety within it. Italian, Asian and Mexican are all crowd-favorite cuisines that can offer a wide range of dishes.

Sample themed prep plans: 

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Semi-prep.

Anyone else remember the cooking show called Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee on the Food Network? I can totally get on board with this (except in my own simply swapped version way). A huge time saver when prepping for clients is to semi-prep some of the recipes. For example, if I make lasagna or my black bean spinach enchiladas, I will prep them up until the point of baking. This cuts down on overall time and tastes more fresh when baked on demand. Another great semi-prep idea is my infamous salmon parchment packs (check out the cooking tutorial, here). 

Related Post: Master Power Bowl Meal Prep Like a Boss 

Enlist help where you can.

Friends, family, you name it. Live alone and worried that you might end up with too much food? Invite a friend over to share in the prep responsibility and leftovers. Enlist a personal dishwasher from the family to help you in the kitchen because there’s no need for you to have to do it all alone. When all else fails, even keeping a trash bowl nearby is helpful in saving steps to and from the trash can which at the end of the day, saves time in the kitchen. 

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Meal Prep Made Easy with my Simply Swapped Everyday Cookbook! 

Some of the most common questions I get asked revolve around easy recipes that are meal-prep friendly, types of recipes that are good for leftovers, and recipes that even the pickiest eater will enjoy. 

This is why I created my signature cookbook, Simply Swapped Everyday, where I walk you through formulas to make cooking at home easier and share over 75 plant-powered recipes that are easily adaptable to any dietary lifestyle. This cookbook is designed with the everyday in mind as a way to share healthy alternatives to classic favorites without losing out on flavor. Most of the recipes in this book are meal prep friendly (and even freezer friendly!). 

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY ON AMAZON

Looking for more meal prep inspiration? Check out my 5 Step Plan to Master Modern Meal Prep and my guide to mastering power bowl prep like a boss

-Carly Paige

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The Cookbook You'll Actually Use

Plant-Based Cookbook Simply Swapped Everyday - FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige

Simply Swapped Everyday

Simply Swapped Everyday is your guide to elevating the everyday through mindful methods, ingredient swaps and over 75 plant-powered recipes. Cooking healthy foods at home has never been easier or more delicious!

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Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.

Meal Planning Made Easy

Learn how to meal prep without spending hours in the kitchen and actually crave the foods you make. Get your free MEAL PLANNING STARTER KIT and printable weekly template to get cooking.

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Meal Planning Made Easy

Learn how to meal prep without spending hours in the kitchen and actually crave the foods you make. Get your free MEAL PLANNING STARTER KIT and printable weekly template to get cooking.